DIY laptop case

I've finally finished the DIY laptop case project that I'd been working on, and moreover had the time to recover from it.

The plan was to create a fabric case for my ancient Macbook Air, with the external cover using pinstripe fabric at an angle, and the inside using a patchwork of Clarissa Hulse fabric.

Overall, I'm pretty happy about the result, although I'll admit the quality of work's not great:

After comparing a few alternatives, the design I used came from here. I decided on a plastic zip so as not to damage the notebook, and learnt far too much about the varieties of zip design before promptly forgetting it all. I decided to go for a nice chunky zip in bright orange as a bit of a contrast to quiet pin-stripe.

Anyway, I was never going to produce a result as good as someone with proper sewing experience, and as I'm making a one-off the lessons I learnt are somewhat lost, but I really wanted to create my design myself, and, well, it was an interesting learning experience. :)

Here are some things I learnt:

  • Working with fabric is hard. Constructing something that's the right shape from wood might be difficult, but when the material keeps changing shape, scrunching up, stretching, etc., it's a right pain.
  • Also, you're kind of expected to create more complex shapes - the fabric will have changes of direction and rounded corners, whereas with other materials you can just leave it all nice and square. In short, smooth corners are hard.
  • Clarissa Hulse fabric off-cuts patch-worked together produced the effect I wanted. We considered the fabric for curtains, but big, expensive silk curtains would have been destroyed by the children by now, so not doing that was a good move.
  • Chunky zips are a right pain. They want to lie flat. They certainly don't want to be part of a 180 degree turn-around at the edge of the case. They come with chunky strips of heavy-duty material attached, in order to zip big, heavy things effectively, and that's really bad for this kind of application. I trimmed off what I could, especially at the ends, which helped somewhat.
  • Don't let people close. The finishing, especially around the corners of the zip, is bad.

Despite all that, it was a fun project.

Posted 2015-08-15.